The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga had plenty of reasons to come out flat against Jacksonville State on Wednesday night at McKenzie Arena: UTC finished exams last week, the Gamecocks were winless and the Lady Mocs were coming a road win at Alabama.
So how did the Lady Mocs do? They won 72-59, but it was not pretty.
"We kind of survived this game," forward Taylor Hall said, later adding, "In a way it almost feels like a loss because we didn't perform to our best ability -- and we know that."
With 9:27 left in the game and UTC up 53-45, coach Wes Moore could be heard yelling, "What's wrong with y'all?" during a timeout. Moore's mood post-game wasn't much better.
"I didn't [sense his team would come out flat], but I was afraid of it," he said.
UTC (8-1) only turned the ball over five times and had 24 second-chance points, but the Lady Mocs shot just 34.2 percent from the field and were 6-for-33 from 3-point range.
At 8-1, UTC has matched its best start under Moore, tying the 1999-2000 squad. The Lady Mocs will try for 9-1 and 3-0 against Southeastern Conference teams next Wednesday at Auburn. Before then, however, the Lady Mocs can expect quite a few tough practices.
"We're going to have to come in to practice with a lot of energy and a good attitude because [Moore's] definitely not happy with this performance," said Ashlen Dewart, who led all scorers with 22 points. "We aren't happy with it either. We're a team full of veterans and we know better."
The Lady Mocs trailed 11-6 early before eventually getting things going for a while. UTC hit 40.0 percent of its shots in the first half and led 42-31 at the break. Jacksonville State (0-9) was able to hang around in the second half, due in part to UTC shooting 9-for-33 in the final 20 minutes.
Hall had the toughest night, going 1-for-13 from the field. She finished with six points and seven rebounds.
The Gamecocks hit 12 of 25 second-half shots and outrebounded UTC 26-17 in the second half. They cut UTC's lead to 63-56 with 2:27 left but never got any closer.
UTC won't return to the Roundhouse until Jan. 12, when it hosts Georgia Southern. In between are four road games, starting with Auburn.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...